|If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther|
No. 118, Part II, 18 JUNE 1996
This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest. Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ULMANIS RE-ELECTED LATVIAN PRESIDENT. The Saeima on 18 June re-elected Guntis Ulmanis as president in the first round of voting, BNS reported. Ulmanis received 53 votes, Democratic Party Saimnieks candidate and Saeima Chairwoman Ilga Kreituse 25, Popular Movement for Latvia candidate Imants Liepa 14, and imprisoned former First Secretary of the Latvian Communist Party Alfreds Rubiks five. Three deputies did not vote. -- Saulius Girnius ZYUGANOV SCORES VICTORY AMONG RUSSIANS LIVING IN BALTIC STATES. Some 4,500 of the 15,000 Russian citizens in Lithuania voted in the Russian presidential elections on 16 June, BNS reported. Gennadii Zyuganov received more than half the vote, while Boris Yeltsin got 17%, Aleksandr Lebed 14%, Grigorii Yavlinskii 5%, and Vladimir Zhirinovsky 3%. Of the 9,337 Russian citizens living in Latvia who voted, 64.5% supported Zyuganov, 14.7% Yeltsin, 10.2% Lebed, and 3.1% Zhirinovsky. In Estonia, 23,405 citizens voted, ETA reported. Zyuganov received 62.7% of their votes, Lebed 15.1%, Yeltsin 11.4%, and Zhirinovsky and Yavlinskii 4.4% each. -- Saulius Girnius ESTONIA NOT TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR DECLARING SOVIET PASSPORTS VOID. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi on 17 June said the 12 July deadline for ending the validity of Soviet passports in Estonia will not be extended, BNS reported. He noted that the Citizenship and Migration Department will be urged to complete the issuing of aliens' passports as soon as possible. An alien who has not received his passport but who has received a positive answer from the department will be able to vote in the October local elections by producing a driver's license. Vahi estimated that less than 200 applications for residence and work permits will be rejected. So far, only 41 persons have been refused permits because they have a criminal record, were employees of the former KGB, or gave false information about themselves. -- Saulius Girnius UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NEW CURRENCY MAY APPEAR THIS YEAR. Leonid Kuchma said Ukraine may introduce the hryvna by the end of the year, Ukrainian TV reported on 14 June. He said his government's success in bringing monthly inflation down to its lowest level in five years--0.7% in May--has created a favorable climate for monetary reform this year. However, the state's mounting wage debt of nearly 100 trillion karbovantsi ($540 million) could still destabilize prices. In other news, the president on 17 June signed several decrees aimed at helping cash-strapped state-owned enterprises to avoid bankruptcy, Ukrainian TV reported. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT FILES CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST COAL INDUSTRY LEADERS. Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Yevtukhov on 14 June said Kyiv has filed criminal charges against an unspecified number of coal industry managers and officials in the Luhansk region, UNIAN reported. Yevtukhov, who led a government inspection of the region's coal mines, said he found evidence of large-scale embezzlement and abuse of office. He added that there may be more prosecutions in the near future. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN FOREIGN POLICY UPDATE. Mykhailo Syrota, chairman of the parliamentary commission preparing the constitution for its second reading, told UNIAN on 15 June that the commission has approved a clause banning the deployment of foreign troops on Ukrainian territory. But he added that the Black Sea Fleet is a special case and that special conditions will apply for the stationing of the Russian part of the fleet in Crimea. UNIAR the previous day reported that a parliamentary delegation returned from Azerbaijan where it had taken part in the seventh session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly. Oleksandr Tkachenko, vice president of the assembly and deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, said Azerbaijan will soon open an embassy in Kyiv and that Ukraine will do the same in Baku. -- Ustina Markus SHOOTING INCIDENT IN BELARUS. A man in police uniform shot at the car carrying Viktar Hanchar, secretary-general of the CIS Supreme Economic Court and a Belarusian parliamentary deputy, Belapan reported on 14 June. Hanchar was unharmed, but his secretary was wounded. No explanation of the incident has been given. In other news, Belarus and Taiwan have reached an agreement to open trade offices in each other's countries, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 June. While their representatives will have diplomatic privileges, the two countries will not establish formal diplomatic relations. Beijing, which is strongly opposed to any official recognition of Taiwan, temporarily broke off relations with Latvia for having recognized Taipei. Minsk is seeking to boost economic cooperation with Beijing. -- Ustina Markus WARSAW CONFERENCE ON MIGRATION. Ministers of internal affairs and other government representatives from 39 European countries began talks in Warsaw on 17 June on migration issues and the integration of immigrants in Europe, international media reported. The conference, the sixth of its kind organized by the Council of Europe, is expected to examine CE proposals on the integration of foreigners and to approve a project titled "Tensions and Tolerance: Building better integrated communities across Europe." -- Jakub Karpinski DEPUTY MAJOR CHARGED OVER SWIMMING POOL BAN IN CZECH TOWN. Deputy Mayor of Kladno Slavomir Cirnfus has been charged with inciting racial hatred, CTK reported on 17 June. Last week, Cirnfus issued a decree barring all Romani children from the town's swimming pools on the grounds that Romani youths are more likely to be carriers of hepatitis than non-Roma. He has denied that the decree was "motivated by intolerance." -- Alaina Lemon SLOVAK PROSPECTS FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP UNCERTAIN. Meeting with top Slovak officials on 17 June, North Atlantic Assembly President Karsten Voigt said it is "an illusion" to think that Slovakia can enter NATO based on its strategic geographical position alone, Slovak and international media reported. "My impression is that the final decision will be based on the perception of democratic culture," he said, pointing to Western concerns about Slovak political developments. Voigt said NATO will decide early next year which countries will join and when. If Slovakia is not included in the first round, "there might be the second round of enlargement, but nobody knows when," he stressed. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAKIA'S COALITION CONFLICT CONTINUES. Representatives of Slovakia's ruling coalition parties met in Bratislava on 17 June for a fourth round of talks but failed to resolve the ongoing dispute over the insurance firm Slovenska poistovna, Slovak media reported. Slovak National Party chairman Jan Slota noted that his party is not backing down from its demands that the privatization of financial institutions be delayed and that the agencies of the Slovak Information Service and the National Property Fund be expanded to include opposition representatives. But Slota stressed that his party will not initiate the disintegration of the coalition. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY'S COALITION PARTIES STILL AT ODDS OVER CONFLICT OF INTERESTS BILL. Hungary's Socialist Party and Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) are still divided over the crucial conflict of interests bill, Hungarian media reported on 18 June. Voting was scheduled for April but has been delayed until after the summer recess. Last week, the SZDSZ submitted its own version of the bill. The coalition parties disagree over to whom the law should apply and when it should take effect. The SZDSZ wants the law to apply retroactively to deputies who have held office since 1994, while the Socialists want the law to go into effect after the 1998 elections. Prime Minister Gyula Horn recently said that the conflict of interest law "can wait." -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT SUBMITS BILL TO CURB ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES. The government on 17 June submitted a bill to the parliament that aims to curb black-market activities by stepping up measures against illegal employment and earnings, Napi Gazdasag reported. The bill provides for control officers to conduct spot checks at all businesses in Hungary. The officers would be allowed to enter workplaces and examine all documents. However, they would be obliged to respect business secrecy legislation. Authorities would be able to initiate proceedings against both employers and employees for petty offenses or impose fines ranging from 50,000 forints to 1 million forints ($330-$6660) for first-time offenders and up to 3 million forints for further violations within three years. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE INDICTED BOSNIAN SERB WAS VICTIM OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on 17 June dropped all charges against Goran Lajic, saying he was a victim of mistaken identity, AFP reported. Lajic was released, but the court said that charges against another Bosnian Serb of the same name stand. Lajic was arrested in Germany on 18 March and was held in a UN prison in the Netherlands for five weeks on charges of murder and torture. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that victims of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia can sue Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic in U.S. federal courts. The court rejected Karadzic's appeal against a 1995 lower court ruling that upheld the right of a group of Bosnian women who had been tortured and raped to file suits against Karadzic. -- Stefan Krause ELECTION COALITIONS IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. The Socialist Party of Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav United Left of Republika Srpska will run as a coalition in the upcoming elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Onasa reported. Negotiations with the opposition Party of Independent Social-Democrats are under way, according to Nasa Borba. Meanwhile, Banja Luka Mayor Predrag Radic will lead a coalition of five small opposition parties. -- Daria Sito Sucic TURKEY OFFERS BOSNIA DONATION INSTEAD OF LOAN. Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, visiting Sarajevo for the first time since Bosnia- Herzegovina proclaimed its independence, said the Turkish government has decided to donate $20 million to Bosnia, Oslobodjenje reported on 18 June. Originally, it had intended to loan Bosnia that amount, which is part of a $50 million program Turkey has devised to help in Bosnia's reconstruction. Demirel met with his Bosnian counterpart, Alija Izetbegovic, on 17 June and described their talks as "very fruitful." He also had a meeting with Bosnian Federation President Kresimir Zubak to discuss the implementation of the Dayton peace accord. The two leaders agreed that the Muslim-Croatian federation is the main precondition for preserving peace in the country. -- Daria Sito Sucic CROATIA CLARIFIES LAW ON AMNESTY FOR REBEL SERBS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. Croatian Justice Minister Miroslav Separovic clarified a controversial amnesty law on 17 June, Nasa Borba reported. Separovic made clear that according to the law all rebel Serbs from eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem charged with armed rebellion against Croatia between August 1990 and June 1996 except war criminals are pardoned. He said Serbs now in custody or those who have already been tried and jailed will also be released, with 4,700 court proceedings already under way to be dropped, Reuters reported. UN administrator Jacques Klein, had asked Croatian President Franjo Tudjman for a clear interpretation of the law. According to Vecernji list Separovic, however, also said that the law will not be changed. The region is due to revert to Croatian rule by 1997. * Fabian Schmidt FERAL TRIBUNE TRIAL ADJOURNED TILL SEPTEMBER. The trial of two journalists working for the Croatian satirical weekly Feral Tribune was unexpectedly adjourned on its first day, AFP reported on 17 June. Viktor Ivancic and Marinko Culic are accused of defaming Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in an article criticizing Tudjman's suggestion that the remains of World War II Fascists be reburied alongside their victims. They are the first journalists to be prosecuted under a new press law that prohibits criticism or satirical commentary on the president, the prime minister, the parliamentary speaker, or the chief magistrates. The trial is scheduled to resume on 25 September, when new witnesses are expected to appear. -- Daria Sito Sucic CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN MACEDONIA. Mate Granic on 17 June visited Skopje for the first time since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia to attend the opening of the Croatian Embassy there, AFP and Nova Makedonija reported. The opening came some five years after the two countries recognized each other. Granic met with his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubomir Frckovski, President Kiro Gligorov, and Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski. Granic and Frckovski described their talks as successful and stressed that there are no outstanding issues between the two countries. Granic also said that Croatia is ready to normalize relations with rump Yugoslavia. -- Stefan Krause OFFICIAL ROMANIAN ELECTION RESULTS. The Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) on 17 June confirmed that the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) candidate Victor Ciorbea has been elected mayor of Bucharest, defeating his Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PSDR) opponent Ilie Nastase, Radio Bucharest reported. Ciorbea received 56.7% of the vote and Nastase 43.2%. Results released so far by the BEC indicate that the opposition has made gains in the mayoral elections, particularly in larger towns, but that the PDSR continues dominate in smaller settlements. Final results are not expected before 20 June. Petre Roman's Social Democratic Union has clearly emerged as the third most important political force. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON HUNGARIAN ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS. Gheorghe Tinca, in an interview with the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, said the celebrations marking the 1100th anniversary of the Magyar Conquest are "full of manifestations insulting for Romanians." He conceded that the present Hungarian government cannot be blamed for that. But in an allusion to Jozsef Antall's cabinet, he noted that "nobody can guarantee that another government of historians will not take power in Budapest again." Tinca also said his country neither can nor wants to prevent Hungary from joining NATO before Romania. However, he reiterated that such a development could have a negative impact on bilateral relations and stability in the region. -- Zsofia Szilagyi NEW STATUS FOR TRANSDNIESTER. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov, meeting in Tiraspol on 17 June, reached agreement on the status of the Transdniester region, international agencies reported. Smirnov said the agreement defines the Transdniester as a "state-territorial formation in the form of a republic within Moldova's internationally recognized borders." This appears to be a compromise formula that goes a long way toward meeting Transdniestrian demands. Smirnov added that he and Snegur will sign the agreement at a meeting attended by Russian and Ukrainian presidents. No date for the meeting was specified, nor was there an official Moldovan statement. -- Michael Shafir LEBED TRIUMPHS AMONG RUSSIAN RESIDENTS OF MOLDOVA. Russian presidential candidate Aleksander Lebed won 45% of the votes of Russian citizens resident in Moldova, according to data BASA-Press received from the Russian Embassy in Chisinau. Communist Party Leader Gennadii Zyuganov received 36% of those votes, while only 11% supported Boris Yeltsin. Turnout was put at 60%. Some 30,000 Russians reside in Moldova, with the bulk living in the Transdniester region. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Opposition presidential candidate Petar Stoyanov on 17 June said his running-mate will most likely be a member of the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union (BZNS), Standart reported. The BZNS is the bigger of the two parties belonging to the People's Union. But BZNS Chairwoman Anastasiya Dimitrova-Mozer will not run for vice president because her party opposes this idea, according to Kontinent. In other news, Ali Agca, who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981, has given an interview to the Spanish daily ABC in which he repeats his claim that the CIA was involved in the attempt on the pope's life. He also maintained that the "Bulgarian connection" was fabricated by the CIA in order to discredit the KGB. Agca made similar statements in 1995. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS WIN ALL DISTRICTS IN ELECTION RE-RUN. The Democratic Party won all 17 electoral districts in which elections were repeated on 16 June, Reuters reported. Most opposition parties, including the Socialists, abstained from voting and demanded a new ballot in all 115 districts. According to the Central Election Commission, 68 percent of voters participated. The Democrats now have a secure two-thirds majority, which allows them to pass a new constitution. Meanwhile, A group of well-known Albanian writers, journalists, artists, and scientists have called on the U.S., the EU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and other international organizations not to accept the election re-run as a democratic vote. They described the election as a "farce," adding that "the institutions of democracy in Albania have broken down." -- Fabian Schmidt ARMENIAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE. Levon Ter-Petrossyan, arriving in Greece on 17 June for an official visit, held talks with his Greek counterpart, Kostis Stephanopoulos, and Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, Reuters reported. The discussions focused on bilateral relations, regional issues, and Armenia's ties with the EU. A friendship agreement was signed, as well as an economic and cultural cooperation agreement and an accord promoting tourism. Ter-Petrossyan said the friendship treaty will bolster the traditionally good relations between Armenia and Greece, while Simitis stressed Greece's interest in investing in Armenia. A defense cooperation agreement is expected to be signed on 18 June. -- Stefan Krause [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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